As far as local league rivalries are concerned, no showdown has produced more drama in recent memory than the Orange Lutheran-Mater Dei matchups.
Their meeting on Tuesday will be the seventh time the two squads have squared off within the past two seasons, and this latest installment will determine which club goes into the loaded CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs as the league’s No. 1 seed and likely top-four overall seed.
The second-ranked Lancers (24-4, 6-1), winners of eight in a row, have already clinched at least a share of the Trinity League title. With a win, they will claim the outright championship.
The fourth-ranked Monarchs (21-6, 5-2) won the teams’ first league contest several weeks back. A win Tuesday afternoon at Orange Lutheran would earn a split of the league title and Mater Dei would grab the league’s No. 1 postseason because of the tiebreaker.
“It’s always a good game with them,” Monarchs coach Jessica Foley said. “It’s going to be a tough game no matter what happens. We just have to come out and play focused, play the way we’re capable of playing, and whatever happens happens.”
Mater Dei is on a seven-game win streak heading into the regular-season finale, thanks in large part to the development of junior Mackensie Kohl in the circle.
“She’s getting more and more comfortable and definitely more effective every game,” Foley said of Kohl. “She’s learned that she has to keep the ball down, but when the time comes, she’s got that great rise ball that really works for her.”
Kohl owns two wins over the Lancers this season, but the Orange Lutheran lineup has looked much different in recent weeks with the return of one of its top players, star senior first baseman Noelle Hee, to the everyday lineup after dealing with a concussion at the onset of the season.
Against JSerra this past Friday, Hee went 4 for 4 with a home run and five RBI.
With as daunting as the Division 1 bracket is, a win Tuesday could be the difference…